Among the government’s primary justifications for its lawful access/online surveillance bill (Bill C-30) is that since Internet providers have not been required to disclose subscriber information during an investigation, their assistance is inconsistent. For example, the Public Safety backgrounder on the bill states:
Basic subscriber information is often required at the early stages of investigations or to fulfill general policing duties. This information can already be provided without a warrant under existing legislation, but only on a voluntary basis, which results in inconsistent access and delay.
RCMP data indicates that ISPs complied with nearly 95 percent of requests in 2010, suggesting that non-compliance involves a very small number of cases. I recently filed a series of access to information requests with local police forces to better identify whether they were running into problems. The answer so far is no. The request asked for “a list of all incidents since January 1, 2009 where a request to an Internet service provider for customer name, address, email address, internet protocol address, or IMEI number was refused.” The Montreal Police responded that there were no records on point. The Halifax Police was very cooperative and undertook a detailed search. This is notable since Bell Aliant is sometimes identified as an ISP that seeks court orders for disclosure of subscriber information. The Halifax Police report:
A search was conducted using key words such as Bell (2022), ISP (1703), computer (540), Rogers (530), Eastlink (119), Facebook (107), Telus (96), internet (90), Aliant (66), Bell/Aliant (8), Internet Protocol (1) and Kodoo (no results). A review was undertaken and we could not find a refusal.
I’ll report on other results as they come in.